Sunday,23 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1253, ( 2 - 8 July 2015)
Sunday,23 September, 2018
Issue 1253, ( 2 - 8 July 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Drifting the night way

The lights beamed down to fire-up the third round of the Egyptian Drifting Championship, marking the first time in Egypt’s history the event was staged at night. Mohamed Abdel-Razek reports

Al-Ahram Weekly

Everyone in Egypt enjoys his own brand of entertainment during a Ramadan night. Sitting down in front of TV shows for hours after Iftar might be commonly the most popular form of entertainment for the past decade. However, for an Egyptian petrol freak, this is not the case. For a motor lover, nothing really hits a nerve more than seeing a drifting machine going sideways, screaming its special sound of music and spraying the fragrance of burning fuel and rubber. It is a deep feeling that sometimes tends to be indescribable.

You just get hit at the arena for the first time and then it becomes an addiction.

This past Friday 26 June, around 50 drifters from all over the country competed in the third round of the Egyptian Drifting Championship of 2015. Despite the fact that the fight almost always revolves around nearly the same 20 drivers, the previous two rounds brought up unexpected surprises. The third round was no exception, completing the action series with the downfall of experienced drivers and the rise of young talented drift kings.

According to the strict rules of the game, amateur drifters are to be filtered from the first heat, leaving the finest talents and their machines to drive the 3,000 fans wild. The second heat starts with every driver trying to impress the crowd as well as the highly experienced judging panel which consisted of Hareedi, Bashat, Macgyver, Marzouk, and Radwan. With nearly 30 drifters on the grid for the second heat, they were all ready to lift the challenge to the pro-level.

All eyes were on Ahmed Tarek, the Car Park Drift champion with his 600bhp dazzling Supra. Everyone out there expected something special from Tarek as usual, but they also expected a mechanical failure, “as usual”. Tarek as well as his Supra appeared in a good mood that night, performing a top class second heat and a literally red smoking third heat. Tarek succeeded to get the most out of the spectator’s chants and cheering as a result of his great performance. However, Tarek’s efforts weren’t enough to convince the judges who deal with points that are given for the drifters on specific tasks that should be fulfilled during the heat like completing the orders, car looks (10 points), tire smoke and car sound and crowd reaction (15 points), drifting skills (100 points), and two or five points for the parking challenge at the end of heat 3. Unfortunately, Tarek skipped an order during his third run that cost him a disqualification, which the fans did not take too well.

Another drifting star who is expected to explode at any time is Amin Elewa with his E36 1jz. Elewa always attracts spectators and experts in every round with his great potential, but he always disappoints them at the end, every time because of a different reason.

This time he reached the final heat to compete in the top 20, but it all ended up with a disqualification call from the judges, thanks to Elewa’s lack of concentration that led him to losing his way inside the track, to finish in 19th position, right ahead of Tarek in 20th place.

Adding to the tally of champions falling down were Haitham Samir and Moataz Atef. Samir is always a podium nominee, keeping in mind that he finished third in the first round of the championship. With his Evo9 he was able to reach the third heat, but failed to get enough points, ending up in 13th position.

Not far behind, Atef, with his Evo6, finished 14th after he lost control as the car spun, exactly the same mistake he made in the first round of the championship.

Karim Shlash, the winner of the first round, reached the third heat with enough points for ninth place, but still failing to prove it wasn’t by chance when he won the first round. “I was in a bad mood, which reflected on my performance today,” said Shlash after the race, without further clarification.

Hisham Al-Khatib, who won first place in the previous round and second in the first round, tried to sustain his ongoing form. He had a great run in the third heat, but not as good as the titans up front, finishing in seventh place to remain the strongest contender to win the championship till now.

In the top five came the hard worker Mohamed Debba in fifth place after performing a great race all over. Debba, as usual, lifted himself gradually after each heat to reach his climax in the third.

In fourth place came Michael Ecko, the usual black horse. Ecko, with his e30-M50, as usual trampled over all the calculations, proving that a good driver with an average car can produce a good performance.

Without drama this time, Rami Serri succeeded in defeating his curse. Borrowing his friend’s E36-1jz, it was the magical recipe for Serri, who took third place. Serri faced a nightmare in the previous round when his transmission broke, despite his great performance. This time, Serri had a successful comeback, and seriously starts his bid for the championship. “Big thanks to my friend Ahmed Al-Tabei for lending me his car. I am really happy for what I achieved today, and hopefully next time my E46-M50Turbo will be ready,” Serri said.

The two big surprises came in the top two places. A completely new name in the drifting community in Egypt, Mohamed Zordok, with a heart stopping e92 super charged M3, did the job perfectly. Zordok kept on performing in a constant pace throughout the race, taking care of the technical part while trying to grab each and every point in reach.

In first place came Maged Abu Selim with his E36-M50Turbo, after a mind boggling performance from each curve and angle. Abu Selim knew how to balance his efforts between entertaining the fans and getting the points he wanted from the judges. Tire smoke, car sound, you name it; everything that drives a motor-head wild was performed by Abu Selim in each heat.

“I am overwhelmed with the win. I did my best, and thank God it was paid back,” said Abu Selim after the race. Judge Mcgyver said he was amazed with the top-class performance from the top 10 drivers. “I am really happy with the organisation today.”

“It could have been better though,” said judge Radwan.

Pixels and STT remain the eager driving force behind Egyptian motor sports. Despite all the financial and sponsorship problems they face organising the Egyptian Drifting Championship, they will keep fighting to complete what they started.

On to the next round.

The writer is a freelance journalist.

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